External HDD ticking clicking noises

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by al404, Aug 31, 2014.

  1. al404 macrumors 6502

    al404

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
    Location:
    Novara, Italy
    #1
    I have a late 2012 mac mini with a WD My Book USB 3 external HDD
    it was for time machine, but since i got a clicking noises on boot a moved TM backup to a different drive, formatted and used as storage HDD

    the problem is that on boot the disk keep clicking and slow down boot process because OS X seems to wait for disk to be ready

    disk does a click noise like USB 2.5 external HDD that does not have enough power

    once mac finish booting HDD gets available, and works fine

    have to do some more test but:

    - if unplug USB 3 and power cord and reconnect next boot gets fine
    - on USB 2 seems to have less issue
     
  2. CelestialToys macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2013
    Location:
    up above the streets and houses
    #2
    clicking noises from a HDD often indicate that it's about to fail, I would ensure that it's not holding any data that you can't afford to lose.
     
  3. al404 thread starter macrumors 6502

    al404

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
    Location:
    Novara, Italy
    #3
    no important data are on that disk, and i have a copy
    the strange thing is that the click noise is only on os x boot, it seems like it doesn't get enough power from the mac mini
     
  4. 53kyle macrumors 65816

    53kyle

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Location:
    Sebastopol, CA
    #4
    The reason that it is clicking on boot is because it is reading and writing like crazy, and I am certain that copying files to and from the drive will cause more clicking.
     
  5. cypriot macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2011
    #5

    Its good that your files are bakcked up. This info could save my very important files 2 years ago. I didn't care about the ticking and lost all my documents. Now if i ever hear that sound again i buy a new hdd or ssd ASAP. I can confidently say that drive is dying even if it doesnt tick at times and make strange behaviour. Just get over with it and move on with a different drive imo. :)
     
  6. al404 thread starter macrumors 6502

    al404

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
    Location:
    Novara, Italy
    #6
    actually copying from and too doesn't make any noise
    the disk seems to work fine without issue

    do you have any app to suggest that can verify USB external HDD
    i have a windows PC if is needed, not sure if under windows it can read SMART status

    on WD forum they say to try a different USB 3 cable
     
  7. Blackstick macrumors 6502

    Blackstick

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2014
    Location:
    Sunny South Florida
    #7
    sometimes that just indicates the disk isn't getting enough power to properly spin the disk and mount. Especially if it's quickly clicking every half a second.
     
  8. cypriot macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2011
    #8

    Trying another cable is a good way to be sure. However i remember my wd disk did the same behaviour. It sometimes worked flawlessly when i played with its powercord. When you use it as a system it reads and writes continously. Try throwing it a big file like 10 gb or opening a movie and see if the click starts again.

    I am not saying you should trash it right away. I suggest that you dont rely on it for your important tasks and files until you be sure.
     
  9. js81 macrumors 65816

    js81

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2008
    Location:
    KY
    #9
    Try HD Tune: http://www.hdtune.com

    Windows-only, unfortunately, but it speed tests (benchmarks), can check Smart status, and scans for errors. Plus, you can do all this with the free version. :) Only issue I've seen is that it sometimes will not read Smart data from an external drive - though I'd say yours has a better chance since its a manufacturer supplied drive (branded).
     
  10. al404 thread starter macrumors 6502

    al404

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
    Location:
    Novara, Italy
    #10
    i guess something doesn't work ok
     

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  11. duervo macrumors 68000

    duervo

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    #11
    https://kb.acronis.com/content/9133

    Current Pending Sector Count

    Hard drives, supporting this attribute

    Samsung, Seagate, IBM (Hitachi), Fujitsu, Maxtor, Western Digital

    Description

    Current Pending Sector Count S.M.A.R.T. parameter is a critical parameter and indicates the current count of unstable sectors (waiting for remapping). The raw value of this attribute indicates the total number of sectors waiting for remapping. Later, when some of these sectors are read successfully, the value is decreased. If errors still occur when reading some sector, the hard drive will try to restore the data, transfer it to the reserved disk area (spare area) and mark this sector as remapped.

    Please also consult your machines's or hard disks documentation.

    Recommendations

    This is a critical parameter. Degradation of this parameter may indicate imminent drive failure. Urgent data backup and hardware replacement is recommended.
     
  12. al404 thread starter macrumors 6502

    al404

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
    Location:
    Novara, Italy
    #12
    looking on how send my disk back i discover that on WD web site with serial number they tell you when your disk warranty ends ( i did not register my product, at list that i remember )
    http://wdsupport.wdc.com/warranty/warrantycheck.asp?custtype=end

    and they let you download a windows only utility to test your disk
    http://support.wdc.com/product/download.asp?groupid=810&sid=3&lang=en

    mine failed the quick test and did the click noise while running the test
    the long one takes more than 6 hours but i already know that my disk has a problem so i'm not going to run the log one
     
  13. iMacFarlane macrumors 65816

    iMacFarlane

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2012
    Location:
    Adrift in a sea of possibilities
    #13
    It's a documented problem with the implementation of USB 3.0 on 2012 Macs. I have a 2012 cMBP, made when your Mac Mini was made, I can only assume that Apple used the same if not similar controls on the USB ports for all the computers they made that year.

    The issue is that Apple put in sensors to kill the USB connection if current draw on the bus exceeded a certain limit. Many USB 3.0 self powered external drives actually exceed this current level during drive spin-up, so the result is that the drive "clicks" as it is repeatedly powered and unpowered.

    The absolutely crazy and embarrassing solution that works just fine (which I did for my Canvio 1TB external HDD) is to find a USB to micro-USB cable under USB 2.0. The micro-USB will fit in part of the USB 3.0 connection on the drive. Plug in the standard USB jack to your computer, drive works like a champ. Just slow. And baffling, that 2 years later, Apple still hasn't addressed this issue.

    Hope it works for you.
     
  14. al404 thread starter macrumors 6502

    al404

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
    Location:
    Novara, Italy
    #14
    In my case HDD is faulty. I tested with WD utility and other utility under Windows that reported SMART value ad faulty
     

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